Yes my friends, God has indeed given us a wonderful world and we have so much to be thankful for. God has showered us with His gifts, beginning with the gift of life itself. This week we celebrate Thanksgiving Day in the United States. Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday in the US and it is celebrated on the 4th Thursday of November. I realize my emails are read around the world and I acknowledge many other countries also designate a specific day of the year as their day of thanks. Thanksgiving finds its roots in religious and cultural traditions even though it is now a government sanctioned national holiday. Almost all religions of the world have ceremonies of thanks to God and many are focused around the harvest season.
The Thanksgiving holiday in the United States is traditionally thought to have originated at a 1621 celebration in Plymouth, Massachusetts. It is not easy to trace Thanksgiving to this specific event and there is not a universal agreement on this as its origin. I choose to believe that the origin of giving thanks to God comes from deep within the human heart and it is a natural response to a loving and gracious God.
In the United States, we live now in time where some people would like to remove every connection between God and country. I find it reassuring to look back and see our early American leaders clearly saw God as the source to be thanked for our bounty. On November 26, 1789, our first nation-wide thanksgiving celebration, George Washington spoke of that day as: “as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favours of Almighty God“. Sadly today in Washington DC, Thanksgiving Day seems to be more about the “pardoning of a turkey”.
On this day of thanks, there is a song that brings joy to my heart and depicts how I feel. The song was recorded in 1967 by Louis Armstrong and it is “What a Wonderful World”. Armstrong’s recording of this song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999. The song was written by Bob Thiele and George David Weiss. To me the lyrics depict many of the things we have to be thankful for. To listen to the song click here:
I see trees of green, red roses too
I see them bloom for me and you
And I think to myself what a wonderful world.
I see skies of blue and clouds of white
The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night
And I think to myself what a wonderful world.
The colors of the rainbow so pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces of people going by
I see friends shaking hands saying how do you do
They’re really saying I love you.
I hear babies crying, I watch them grow
They’ll learn much more than I’ll never know
And I think to myself what a wonderful world
Yes I think to myself what a wonderful world.
Lyrics © CARLIN AMERICA INC, MEMORY LANE MUSIC GROUP, WINDSWEPT HOLDINGS LLC
Today, as on all days, some people are suffering through illnesses, pains of all types and grief due to the death of loved ones and friends. These are part and parcel of the human condition; however I am sure you will agree that if we can just take a moment this day to wipe away any tears that we might have we can see through our pain that there is still so much more to give thanks to our God for. Psalm 30:12-13 speak to this:
You changed my mourning into dancing;
you took off my sackcloth
and clothed me with gladness.
So that my glory may praise you
and not be silent.
O LORD, my God,
forever will I give you thanks
We read more about thanks in Psalm 9:2-3
I will praise you, LORD, with all my heart;
I will declare all your wondrous deeds.
I will delight and rejoice in you;
I will sing hymns to your name, Most High.
Finally, Psalm 100:1-5 goes like this:
A psalm of thanksgiving.
Shout joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
serve the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful song.
Know that the LORD is God,
he made us, we belong to him,
we are his people, the flock he shepherds.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him, bless his name;
good indeed is the LORD,
His mercy endures forever,
his faithfulness lasts through every generation.
On this day of Thanksgiving, I give thanks to God for the inspiration He gave me to begin writing these 4thdayletters and I give Him thanks for each of you who read them. Writing these has been a real blessing for me. An even bigger blessing and gift has been reading your heart felt responses each week to the messages that God has placed on my heart to share. God clearly is touching lives through these emails.
To all who read and share the 4thdayletters near and far and around the world I offer you my heartfelt thanks! I wish each and every one of you a happy and blessed day as we offer thanks together to our God. Happy Thanksgiving!
We give you thanks almighty God for all the gifts you have bestowed on us you who live and reign for ever and ever amen.